Abbas Sepehri, an aspiring cabinet minister under the Shah, is mysteriously fired and plunges into a world of political intrigue. His public disgrace then launches him on a personal journey that takes him to America, where his crisis deepens.
There Abbas falls in love with the beautiful Ellen Hauser, wife of his longtime friend and employer, Lynn, director of a Middle East Center with close ties to the State Department. Next, his public lecture series is disrupted by dissident Iranian students, leading further to humiliation and exposure to a side of himself that he avoided facing in his own country.
This dark comedy of manners explores the ties and conflicts between two former allied nations at a critical turning point in their relationship. It also brings Abbas, a product of both worlds, up against the folly of trying to mediate between two opposing ways of political thinking, when the attempt to do so merely widens the rift.
Donné Raffat weaves a rich and revealing cross-cultural story around the people caught up in the web of events culminating in the Iranian Revolution. The Folly of Speaking is the third in his quartet of connected works set against the rising turbulence in Iranian life in the twentieth century.
Donné Raffat, author of The Caspian Circle and The Prison Papers of Bozorg Alavi, lives in La Jolla, California, and teaches English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University.